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The Art of the Palaeo-Eskimos

Around 5000 years ago, nomadic hunters from northeastern Siberia migrated across the sea ice on Bering Strait to Arctic North America. They adapted successfully to the cold, vast landscape and within several hundred years their descendants had advanced as far as Greenland and Labrador. What we know about their 4000 years of occupation comes primarily from physical evidence left behind. Archaeologists have found a variety of bone and ivory carvings including figurines, icons, amulets and weapons.

Illustrated here is a selection of objects produced by these early Arctic inhabitants, known to anthropologists as Palaeo-Eskimos and, in Inuit tradition, as the Tunit. They reflect an ancient hunting people's belief in a special relationship between humans and animals.

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